Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Temples and Shrines in Japan: what is the difference?

One day I spoke to a japanese friend about a temple which I found in Shinjuku, Tokyo. But, she said there was no temple in there, so the only way to prove I was not crazy was taking her there. However, she explained that was not a temple, but a shrine. More specifically Hanazono Shrine.   


"But, it looks like a temple!" - some would say. So, what's the difference between temples and shrines? Basically shrines are based on Shintoism and centers around many gods while temples are based on Buddhism and centers around Buddha. However, there are other differences you can find when visit both.

I, for example, saw something interesting in Hanazono Shrine that I've not seen in any temple: the visitors thrown a coin in a offering box, bowed twice, clapped their hands twice, bowed once more and rang a gong above them.

This clapping gesture is known as "hakushu", an etiquette of worship performed by shrine priests and the gong is used to get God's attention.

If you plan to come to Japan some day, you can visit both and check this difference. But, before it you can join a virtual tour in Taptrip to check this and many other curiosities.


This picture above is from a virtual trip in Japan which is happening right now. Download Taptrip and join the next one.
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